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Super Smash Bros. Melee

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Super Smash Bros. Melee
SSBM-Box Art.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) HAL Laboratory
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Masahiro Sakurai
Release date(s) Japan November 21, 2001
NA December 3, 2001
Europe May 24, 2002
Australia May 31, 2002
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Rating(s) ESRB: ESRB T rating.svg - Teen
PEGI: PEGI 12.svg - 12+
CERO: CERO A rating.svg - All ages
Game chronology
Super Smash Bros. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
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Super Smash Bros. Melee, often shortened to "SSBM" or "Melee", is a 2.5D fighting game for the Nintendo GameCube developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo. This game is different from other fighting games in its style, in that fighters battle in complex arenas with the goal being forcing the opponent(s) off the stage rather than draining their health. It is the second in the series after Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, and precedes Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.


There are a total of 26 playable characters in Melee, 15 of which are accessible from the start. The other 11 can be unlocked through the single-player mode, or by playing VS matches.



Kirby (as a fighter)[edit]

Kirby's artwork from Super Smash Bros. Melee

Kirby is one of the starter characters in this game. He is notable for his small stature, light weight, and multiple mid-air jumps. At first glance, he seems largely unchanged from his appearance in Smash 64, but many of his moves and attributes have been tweaked, which has resulted in drastic changes in his tournament viability between the two games. Despite this, he is a good choice for casual play and for beginners, due to his versatility, and his ability to copy his opponents' special moves.

Kirby has high traction while on the ground, meaning that he doesn't slip much while dashing or turning, but has a short wave-dash.


Most of Kirby's attacks come from his appearance in Smash 64, with many of those based on moves from the Kirby series, though some have changed between 64 and Melee. Kirby's attacks are as follows:

Standard Ground[edit]

  • Neutral - Kirby jabs his opponent rapidly, similar to Vulcan Jab.
  • Forward tilt - Kirby does a spinning kick forward - with decent range.
  • Up tilt - Kirby kicks upward behind him, dealing damage at a very large range.
  • Down tilt - Kirby kicks forward while crouching, sweeping the floor.
  • Dash attack - Kirby bursts into a fireball and flies forward. Based on the Burning ability. This is the only dash attack in the entire 'Smash Bros.' series that will go over ledges.
  • Forward smash - Kirby does a strong kick as he steps forward. Based on Spin Kick.
  • Up smash - Kirby performs a bicycle kick, doing a back-flip in the process.
  • Down smash - Kirby spins with his feet out, hitting on both sides.

Standard Aerial[edit]

  • Neutral aerial - Kirby performs the 'Twinkle Star' move, spinning with arms and feet extended outward.
  • Forward aerial - Kirby kicks forward three times in succession, with the last hit dealing the most knockback.
  • Back aerial - Kirby kicks out with both feet behind, dealing a quick hit.
  • Up aerial - Kirby flip-kicks upward in mid-air, dealing good knockback.
  • Down aerial - Kirby drills with both feet downward, which can be used to send foes down.


  • Forward - Kirby flips with his opponent in the air, then pile-drives them into the ground. Based on the Pile Driver move.
  • Back - Kirby performs a backward suplex on his enemy. Based on the Backdrop ability. Kirby and his opponent can go off the edge of the stage with this move.
  • Up - Kirby flies up off-screen with his foe, then crashes back down. This move is based on the Air Drop technique.
  • Down - Kirby throws his opponent to the ground and pummels them with his feet, similar to the Quick Stamping technique.


  • Inhale - Kirby inhales, which will allow him to swallow up fighters who are close-by (within range of a grab). From there, Kirby can either spit them back out as a temporary Star Bullet, or 'swallow' them to copy their neutral special move (and gain a hat based on the fighter swallowed). Kirby can discard this move by taunting or will lose it if he is hit by a strong attack (at random).
  • Hammer - Kirby pulls out his hammer, and swings it after some delay, causing good damage and knockback. In the air, Kirby will do a Hammer Spin instead.
  • Final Cutter - Based on the last hit of the Cutter combo, Kirby takes out a blade, rises into the air, then crashes back down, releasing a shock wave on landing. Kirby can use this move to gain some height when recovering and can grab the ledge with it, but it can be easy to intercept. When falling downward, Kirby can send his opponent flying downward with the blade if timed right.
  • Stone - Kirby transforms into stone and crashes downward. He is invulnerable to all attacks except for grabs while in this form and will damage opponents he collides with while falling.

Tournament Standing[edit]

Kirby is currently ranked last on the Super Smash Bros. Melee tier list - in 26th place, as produced by the Smashboards community. The main reason for this is Kirby's inability to approach his opponent, coupled with his slow speed, weak attacks, and poor survivability. This allows him to be easily combo'd by most of the rest of the cast, especially those near the top of the tier list. His only good match-ups are against Roy and Bowser.


Many of the stages in Melee are taken from other games published by Nintendo. Some stages which were originally in Super Smash Bros. can be unlocked as secret stages.

Starter Stages[edit]

  • Icicle Mountain
  • Princess Peach's Castle
  • Kongo Jungle
  • Great Bay
  • Yoshi's Story
  • Fountain of Dreams
  • Corneria
  • Rainbow Cruise
  • Jungle Japes
  • Hyrule Temple
  • Yoshi's Island
  • Green Greens
  • Venom
  • Brinstar
  • Onett
  • Mute City
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Mushroom Kingdom


  • Flat Zone
  • Brinstar Depths
  • Fourside
  • Big Blue
  • Poké Floats
  • Mushroom Kingdom II
  • Battlefield
  • Final Destination
  • Dream Land
  • Yoshi's Island
  • Kongo Jungle

Kirby Stages[edit]

There are three stages based on Kirby games. They are the Fountain of Dreams, Green Greens, and Dream Land.

The Fountain of Dreams stage has the fountain in the background, out of which water flows to create a shallow pool. There are three platforms, two of which are moved vertically by a jet of water. The music that plays on this stage is a remix of the Gourmet Race type 1 and 3 themes from Kirby Super Star.

Green Greens is a stage based on Kirby's Dream Land which features Whispy Woods, and two columns of falling Star Blocks with the occasional Bomb Blocks. Whispy acts as an obstacle by blowing at the characters, and dropping apples onto the stage once in a while. The background of the stage has what appears to be an ocean with star-shaped islands, and a rainbow behind the stage. The music is a remix of the first level in Kirby's Dream Land, and the victory theme at the end of Milky Way Wishes in Kirby Super Star.

The Dream Land stage from the original Super Smash Bros. game is reused as an unlockable stage in Melee. The level consists of three floating platforms above a bigger main one, and Whispy Woods as an obstacle. Unlike in Green Greens, Whispy doesn't drop apples in this stage and has less flexible movement. King Dedede and Bronto Burts can be seen flying in the background occasionally. The music is a remake of Gourmet Race from Kirby Super Star.


Many items from the Kirby series can appear during standard gameplay. These include:

  • Apple - Dropped by Whispy Woods on the 'Green Greens' stage, and can also appear elsewhere. Will act either as a Food item or as a projectile weapon. Has a small chance of exploding if the latter.
  • Maxim Tomato - Reduces up to 50% damage.
  • Parasol - A battering item. While held, fighters can fall slowly and cover a good distance vertically.
  • Star Rod - A battering item that also fires out up to 16 stars if swung hard. Some fighters can fire more than one at a time with certain moves.
  • Warp Star - When a fighter mounts it, they will fly haphazardly upward, then crash down, dealing big explosive damage to any enemy caught in its path. The landing site can be altered slightly.


Among the collectable trophies in Melee, there are several depicting characters and objects from the Kirby series. These include:


Many elements from Melee would go on to influence future Kirby titles. For example, the aesthetic of the Fountain of Dreams stage, as well as its theme music, would later be incorporated into the Kirby series proper, starting with Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. In addition, a special Copy Ability would debut in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror called Smash, which is a condensed version of Kirby's move-set from this game. Along with that, Crazy Hand from the various single-player modes would appear alongside his counterpart as a Boss in Amazing Mirror as well.

As a final note, the base engine used to build Melee would later be used to build the release version of Kirby Air Ride.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズDX
Dairantō Sumasshu Burazāzu Derakkusu
Great Melee Smash Brothers Deluxe


  • The rest music from Kirby Super Star is used for the rest areas in 'All-Star Mode'.
  • The name of Event 16 - 'Kirby's Air Raid' - is a reference to the long-in-development Kirby title Kirby Air Ride, which would come out a few years later.